Back When We Were Grownups

Back When We Were Grownups by: Anne Tyler

Published: 2001

# of pages: 328

Quote: "Her dream was the kind that lingered, coloring the whole morning. Bits of it rose like dust from her pillows when she plumped them -- a sense of travel, a sense of longing." -Rebecca p. 30

Back When We Were Grownups follows Rebecca as she embarks on a mental journey to discover who she really is -- at 53 years of age. She has her ups and downs as she moves from daydreaming about what could have been to actively searching for her past. The reader shares her ups and downs. Sometimes it's funny how light-headed she becomes while she daydreams or kids around in order to spread cheer to her mixed up family. Other times it's depressing to read how she struggles to find her identity and how she feels lost in her own family.

The character of Rebecca reminds me of myself at times. She over-analyzes more than she should, she pushes herself too hard and always tries to make others comfortable even when she's not. I feel like saying, "Take a break! You don't have to try so hard." But then I understand how she feels and know that if she didn't try to put on a happy face she would feel guilty. I enjoyed the honesty of the novel. Rebecca is having a sort of mid-life crisis, something that happens to a lot of middle aged people. However, sometimes the honesty was a little scary. I hope I don't feel that way about my life when I am 53, but I know that I might and hopefully I can make it ok.

There were times, especially towards the end, that this book really made me feel depressed. I was reading it after a long and stressful day, so maybe that was why I felt like I was constantly holding back tears while I was reading. It kind of ruined the end of the book for me, but I'm not sure everyone would be affected the same way. It was an easy read, a book that I could put down and pick up often without losing track of the storyline. It wasn't overly exciting, but it has a lot of depth and was well-written. It would be good to read for a book club and discuss the many themes that can be found throughout the story.

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